Making Sense of the Marketplace

Chapter Two: Making Sense of the MarketplacePortfolio Guide book


Design Groups

Learning about the key areas in the creative industry is essential to deciding which sectors interest you most and who to approach for work.

Design groups differ in size and the services they provide for clients. They may be broad based or multidisciplinary or concentrate on specific sectors such as fashion or finance. Specialisations vary widely, and include branding, packaging and web design.

Advertising Agencies 

Internships with design groups, advertising agencies and magazines often pave way for full time jobs for designers. Most illustrators are freelance, and generally get their first commissions from the editorial sector.

Advertising agencies pay the highest fees but you must be prepared to work hard and to tight deadlines. Some specialise in specific media, such as print, television

The Editorial Sector 

The editorial sector is wide ranging and includes magazines, newspapers, and trade and professional publications. Design and illustration styles vary according to readership, so it is important for practitioners to decide on the type of publication that best suits their abilities.

Book Publishing

Book publishing covers hardbacks and paperback fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. Many designers who latter become freelance start off working in a publishing house, while children’s picture books provide commissions for illustrators whose styles are suitable for this market.

Comics and Graphic Novels

Comics and graphic novels are of interest to illustrators rather than designers. There are two routes into this sector: self authorising independent comics and working for a commercial publisher on a freelance basis.

Television and Film

Television and film are part of the entertainment industry and this is a niche market there is competition to work in these sectors. Software skills are important for designers who want their work in production houses. Freelance illustrators are regularly employed as storyboard and concept artists.

Computer Games Development

Computer games development offers more opportunities for artists and animators than for designers and is one of the few sectors that can provide illustrators with in house short contract work. Artists should be familiar with screen resolutions and the file formats used in digital modelling.

Greetings Cards

Greetings cards are part of the gift industry and can provide permanent employment for designers; roles can vary and some publishers prefer applicants with multiple skills. This creative area is one of the few where having a variety of illustrative styles is an advantage.